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tv   To the Contrary With Bonnie Erbe  WHUT  October 29, 2010 7:30pm-8:00pm EST

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>> funding for "to the contrary" provided by: where real driver in a real car can react to real situations without real consequences. this is the pursuit of tomorrow. this is the pursuit of perfection. >> the life technologies foundation is proud to support "to the contrary" on pbs. our foundation seeks to advance science education and to further society's understanding of the life sciences including the impact of genomics on the practice of medicine. >> and by: sam's club, committed to small business. and the spirit of the entrepreneur. and proud to support pbs's "to the contrary" with bonnie erbe.
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additional funding provided by: the colcom foundation the charles a. frueauff foundation >> this week on "to the contrary" female candidates stand up to sexism; how will this affect voters on tuesday? then, revisiting justice thomas' confirmation hearings. behind the headlines: feminist activist gloria feldt is tired of women's excuses. >> hello, i'm bonnie erbe. welcome to "to the contrary," a discussion of news and social trends from diverse perspectives. up first, the mid-terms! democrats are widely believed to be facing large losses at the
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polls this coming week. many pollsters find democrats are losing the support of white women and middle-class voters due to perceived over-spending and a weak job market. it's also predicted the number of women in congress will drop for the first time in decades. but, is 2010 the year female candidates finally stand up to sexism? democratic house candidate krystal ball says yes. the 28-year old with a funny name has been outspoken about the personal attacks thrown her way. this after someone leaked racy photos of ball and her then husband at a halloween party six years ago. advised to stay quiet after the photos went viral, the mom and small business owner decided to take another stance. >> the last thing that i would want is for a young woman who's thinking about running for office to look at this and say, "oh my gosh, i have some photos that i don't want posted all of the world. and this could really hurt the campaign if i were to run." i didn't want this to negatively
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impact young women who are thinking of running for office. so i decided to take a stand and sort of call it out and say this is exactly the kind of politics that people are disgusted with and it's sexist and i'm not going to let it stop me. and you shouldn't let it stop you either if you're thinking of running. because we did that, i actually think that it has turned out to be a positive in terms of encouraging women to run because they've seen that yes this was hurtful for me but we bounced right back. it didn't stop me. i didn't drop out of the race. i didn't hide in the corner. and in fact, i think that this will end up being a net electoral positive for us, of course it remains to be seen. but that was the message we wanted to get out there. >> if elected ball, who is running for the seat in virginia's first congressional district, would become the youngest woman ever to serve in congress. so, will voters get energized at the last minute, which is the
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key to stemming what are predict to be huge democratic losses, and if so, which cat category of women voters. >> i think with that all is at stake in this mid term election, frankly women are going to be energized because no one wants their are use to be left behind. >> yes, women are energized, it's going to be women who are concerned about america, women who want change. but the people who are going to decide will be your swing voters >> unmarried women who data show a surge in enthusiasm are amongst the key group. >> women who are concerned with the size of the federal government will turn out and we'll see the gender gap disappear. >> all right, so the first, let's talk about the election then get to standing up to sexism if indeed the situation with krystal ball is an example of that. you ran in mississippi as a tea party candidate. >> i was supported by the tea party. i didn't want to endorse, because i thought that would
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polarize voters, i want to be the first black female on national ticket to run in a district in mississippi. >> you lost your primary. >> i lost my primary but we did get black voters to the polls, we did. these are people who actually wanted change. people who have lost their job. >> and how were you going -- if you got in to the house what i don't you're move have been to stimulate jobs. >> bonnie, i wanted to do very radical things that pretty much unpopular that's why people appointed me the tea party candidate, that would be eliminate the department of energy, commerce and the department of education. and take those funds back to the state, so these are pretty unpopular things, but before we create more big government spending, we have to cut government spending. >> the poll you're referring to, the data you're referring to, does that show angela mclowan-type women being energized to the poll or
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independence and democrats. >> it shows that -- a lot of women are. this poll was done by womens' voices, womens' vote. >> when was it released? it. >> was, they released to reporters this past week, this is unmarried women are very important. we focus a lot on soccer moms, on hockey moms, but in addition to the moms we have unmarried single women who are really key constituent and women right now make up not only the majority of the country but the majority of voters. if women really turned out they could -- it could determine the election. >> that particular data, particular familiar sis on black women who are energized and searching. if you think back to the 2008 elections black women were the demographic group. with the most likely to couple out to vote it will be interesting to see. >> they can really change some of the races. harry reed, if blacks get out to vet they can swing.
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>> and referring to independence earlier, they are difficult because they are the least actually politically engaged constituents. but at the same time independent women's voice did a poll in september and over 80% said that their number one concern was the economy and the size of the federal government. i think that the more republicans emphasize things like, the overhaul of the health care legislation, the more we'll see women turn out. i think we'll see, pew has reinforced this as has gallup, likely voter women are trending towards republicans rather than democrats. >> and we talked on this program several times already about the loss, since female deck cats way out number female republicans in the house. i think it's 56-17, and a lot of those democrats are in seats that are thought to be going republican, this trending republican this year. so do you think we'll see fewer women in congress as many are
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predicting? >> we might. but i don't think that we can, i think moving towards saying that this is -- has to do with sexism. i think this is a a good thing f. we see fewer women -- >> but let be clear here. no one is saying that's because of sexism. it's a bad year for democrats and they are way more democratic women in congress than republicans. >> there are record number of g.o.p. women running we might see shift in women this current election season but i think we'll see increase over time. and women who really care about limited government and return to constitution. >> what's so unique, women are reliably pro incumbent. you have a lot of women, 56%, when i read this poll in "politico" that are against health care, that consider being a failure. >> i know one who said democrats when they named it health care reform, they lost right there. they should have named it insurance reform. and then it would have been a big winner. your thoughts on who is going to vote and how -- will there be as
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many pundits are predicting, a loss of -- 50 seats in the house? >> very interesting to me to see pundits predict so definitively what is going to happen on tuesday when tuesday is not here. we're going to make a big difference. there are a lot of women on the other side who want to make sure they can cover their 26-year-old on health insurance a lot of women want to keep progress that they have had so far going forward. we'll have some surprises come tuesday in the black vote will be key for that in many states. >> there's a very good chance the number of women lawmakers could go down. the republican party was brand new, the year of the republican woman, but they ran a lot in the primaries but not many of them wonder -- won their primaries. there are people who won this year and in 2004, a lot of them may lose and some of the women running like christine o'donnell is very behind in the polls. >> what about -- let's get to the -- was there sexism, was there as much sexism in this political cycle as there was
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against sarah palin and hillary clinton two years ago? >> bonnie, sexism and racism still stands, still out there. but you can't wear it as a scarlet letter. we'll talk about not making excuses, block that out, go out there go for what you know and go out there and represent the people and tell them -- >> but no offense, did you that auto and you lost. and krystal ball is whined in the polls. >> i broke through that glass ceiling. we inspired so many. i took on a 16-year incumbenta good ole boy. we knew it was uphill battle but you get out there you make that stance you pave the way for others. >> i want quick thoughts. future for nancy pelosi? >> i think that she's not going to be speaker. even if democrats were to win, which i don't think they will, they will not vote her back in. >> wow. >> you wouldn't vote for her, you have like about five congressional they're not going
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to vote for her. >> i don't know about that. i know that she has her detractors there are a lot of people behind her as well. >> i think there might be people behind her but i think unfortunately for her the health care overhaul is just too much. >> if democrats win the majority i think there's a good chance she'll be speaker of the people who say they won't vote for her. if she's not speaker and democrats lose she will be fine. >> all right. from women candidates to women accusers. recent revelations in the case of now-supreme court justice clarence thomas beg the question, do justice thomas and his wife, ginni, owe professor anita hill an apology? ginni thomas stunned the nation week before last by leaving anita hill a voicemail asking her to pray and to apologize to thomas' husband. anita hill almost two decades ago testified against thomas during his confirmation hearings, claiming he sexually harassed her and used inappropriate pornographic
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language in the workplace. last week thomas' former lover, lawyer and administrative law judge, lillian mcewen, confirmed hill's testimony and said indeed clarence thomas made sexual advances toward many women in the workplace and was fixated on pornography with a large, personal collection. some media luminaries, like the washington post's richard cohen, are saying enough already. others question whether mcewen public comments along with other evidence now prove thomas lied to the senate judiciary committee and hill told the truth. so, we have pretty widespread confirmation that anita hill was not lying, and in fact now justice thomas lied under oath quack then to the senate judiciary committee. so, who owes who an apology here? >> i think, bonnie, with everything that is going on in society today, people losing
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jobs, living from paycheck to paycheck a lot of people -- i was in college. weep were glued to the television set when that was going on. it was very exciting. but after president clinton and monica lewinsky, people don't care. so who owes who an apology? i think most americans just want to put this behind us. >> i think it's amazing that his wife called up anita hill after two decades saying, you did my husband wrong. what is going on? >> for -- the developments this week including that a conservative columnist for the "washington post" wrote, not richard cawan, wrote a piece saying, so what if he lied. i mean, so what. members of congress talking about pulling out articles of impeachment for other justices, you reported was in my mind is afternoon lesser crime than lying under oath to the senate judiciary committee. >> congressman pete defazio from oregon said that about john roberts. he's very upset about the citizens united case and
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overturning precedent. but i don't think so there is the appetite for impeaching -- >> of course. >> , no of course, there's no talk of it. but i'm just saying, if the country weren't so focused on the economy and at some point in the future maybe things will change but does this -- you know, two weeks ago, gin,i thomas calling at 7:30 in the morning asking anita hill for annie polling, does ginni thomas and justice thomas do they owe anita hill an apology now? >> i think a lot of people owe anita hill an apology. i think the way she was treated by many senators was pretty despicable. i think either the thomases and anita hill talk auto or leave each other alone. >> this notion that we talk about impeachment now, really helps further trivialize this notion of sexual harassment. threats not gary that the two decades ago, this didn't have to do with sexual harass the. this had to do with partisan power and keeping --
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>> had something to do with -- >> someone lied -- >> conservative off the bench and political power and i don't know why ginni thomas brought it up again now after all of these years. but someone -- >> if someone lied. we can't have double standard. we went after clinton for lying under oath about sex. but he still lied. so if -- >> and went on -- >> so, if we are going to go after the president of the united states for lying about sex, will you go for senate confirmation hearing that is serious business. and i was conservative female who wrote this article and i think it's deplorable if she says, so what. we're going to go after the president for lying about sex under oath but disguised as supreme court justice. now that upsets me. and he's there for life not dealing with ginni thomas and who owes whom an apology. but in essence that is serious business when you are the
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chief -- >> i think i'm wrong, is there any verifiable evidence of what happened or is this -- >> you're talking people speaking publicly about it. you're also willing -- at the time was interviewed by now vice president biden and there were reasons why the democrats -- i'm sure some will think i'm wrong about this. the democrats that didn't want to create too much of a controversy, i think quite frankly it's more of a boys will be boys type of attitude toward a woman only one of whom would speak publicly. but they knew, and they ignored a major event in american history when they ignored it. >> i think if they're willing to put anita hill up there they were not willing to put mcewen up. we need to remember that there was a lot of partisan power going on here. this was not -- >> how does that make it any different from any supreme court
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nomination? >> we're trying to veil in terms of sexual ha ragsment when this is about keeping conservative off the bench. >> also need to remember that the price that anita hill paid for coming out. i believe that other women who have came out had they not thought they would pay that same price. we know that now. >> but the reason why -- is coming out now she's shopping her memoir, okay? >> i think that's -- >> retired from the federal government -- >> right. that was another reason why she was in alj administrative law judge she didn't want to risk losing her job. >> very successful lady. she wants to get her book down. >> behind the headlines. in the last three years alone, women have become the majority of the american workforce, taken the lead in earning phds, and have run for the nation's top two elected political positions. so why do women still struggle to exert influence and achieve goals? in her new book "no excuses," activist gloria feldt says women have all the tools they need to succeed, but must first change
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the way they think about power. >> in so many ways, this is women's moment. it seems like all the rest of the world knows it. you know, we have everything from nicholas kristof and sheryl wudunn's book "half the sky," to mckinsey & company saying that companies that have more women on their management team have a better return on investments. marketers know that women buy 85% of the consumer goods and that's who they really care about and that's who they market to, but i don't think that women know it yet. >> despite all the attention directed towards women, they, on average, continue to earn less than men. women represent only 3% of fortune 500 ceos and 17% of congress. >> at the rate that women are advancing towards parity in work, politics, or even in negotiating those personal relationships and how we divvy
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up things at home, at the rate we're going, it'll be 70 years before we reach parity. >> so how can women go about speeding up the process? feldt, former president of planned parenthood, says women should rid themselves of complacency. >> one of the things that happens when you win just enough is that everyone starts to think that well, the job is done. every door has been opened at least once by women, with the exception of course, with the president of the united states as we know, but even that we've seen tremendous progress by having had a very viable candidate who almost won. and, so, people can think, "well, the job is done." but the job isn't done. it's far from done. and i think the real barrier now is not so much the external barrier, but the internal barriers that women have ourselves. we're accustomed to living in a culture that doesn't raise us with the intention to go through
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those doors. >> in "no excuses," feldt outlines several power tools women can use to secure equality and justice. >> number one, we need to know our history so that we can create the future of our choice. we need for young girls and women to learn about whose shoulders they stand on, what it took to get here. they don't learn that in school. they may see gloria steinem in her aviator glasses, but that's about all they'll get of women's history. so just seeing that women are, and women do, and women can be helps immensely. but i also think that we need to look at ourselves, those of us who are older, and know that it's our responsibility to tell our stories to younger women, to our daughters, our friends, our nieces. we need to tell our stories and they want to hear those stories. >> another of feldt's power tools: embrace controversy. something she says civil rights
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activists have handled much better than feminists. >> sexism is much more underground. it is so deep. it is so deep and when that gender power balance begins to change, that is so gut-level frightening to so many people. it changes everything. and it's just not as visible, i think, as racism. i also frankly think that the civil rights movement and the gay rights movement too are much more willing to confront the ism when they come upon it. and that women need to learn to be much stronger and not fear the controversy of hitting it head on when they see sexism. >> feldt says today's shifting gender roles have left some
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couples confused about how to balance work and home. but drawing on another one of her tools-carpe the chaos-she says women should use this time to work towards parity. >> i believe that the next great wave of the feminist movement ought to be young women and young men joining together to change the workplace so that they can both have a life and earn a living. and the childbearing years are very challenging for women. the workplace was designed for a man who had a wife at home to take care of all of the details of life. now is the moment to make that change. there's enough chaos going on in our world and chaos is always opportunity to make those kinds of changes. >> you run the largest african-american women's civil rights organization in the she said that any want to get racism and she layuped gay rights have been more
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confrontational about stigmas against them than women. than women have been about still continuing sexual discrimination. do you agree with that? >> i think that historically the civil rights movement set a model that other movements then tried to follow in terms of how to sort of out discriminatory behavior in a way that put the onus on the perpetrator of those actions. and i think that is something that women would be wise to sort of take some notes from be a little bit more -- a lot more vocal about it. same time, what gloria is saying we put shackles on ourselves by not really pushing the envelope enough just being satisfied with having enough. >> why is that. why is it that women would do that but not african american -- >> i think african americans do it, too. >> it is a common trait that we see with oppressed groups that oftentimes coming through those barriers are such a challenge. okay, the fight is over but so much more to be done. >> even in the --
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>> wait a minute, what about a lot of women embracea lot of conservative women embrace being full time homemakers and acting as if that is a right that they certainly womenned that fight for the right to vote but not fight for the right to run households. yet some women say they do need to. >> i can't answer for all conservative women. what i've heard is that women look down, feminist, women look down on women who want to stay at home and take care of the children and cleave to their husband have him be the head of the household should be the heart of the household. but in the workplace, the women lifting women up, gone through so much. sometimes when we grab that little bit of power we want to just stay at bay keep everybody else back. >> but not you, girlfriend.
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>> we can all do it together. but even in the black community there is some comparison. >> quickly. >> i think gloria makes interesting point, the same time she should read that says that women are in the position to create their own success today. sometimes don't want to make it to the very top. >> hock. that's a good point, too, that's it for this edition of "to the contrary." next week: the secret lives of military spouses. please join us on the web for to the contrary extra. whether your views are in agreement or to the contrary, please join us next time. >> funding for "to the contrary" provided by: >> in pursuit of automotive safety, lexus developed an advanced driving simulator real driver in a real car can react
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to real situations without real consequences. this is the pursuit of tomorrow. this is the pursuit of perfection. >> the life technologies foundation is proud to support "to the contrary" on pbs. our foundation seeks to advance science education and to further society's understanding of the life sciences including the impact of genomics on the practice of medicine. >> and by: sam's club, committed to small business. and the spirit of the entrepreneur. and proud to support pbs's "to the contrary" with bonnie erbe. additional funding provided by: the colcom foundation the charles a. frueauff foundation and by the sanofi aventis foundation. for videotapes of "to the contrary", please contact federal news service at 1-888-343-1940.
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